Six Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Dr. Laci Schaible

Fourth of July Pet Safety

Ahhhh, the Fourth of July. The perfect time to have friends and family over to lounge around in the backyard and fire up the grill. Before you start the celebration, take some time to protect your pets from the dangers this holiday poses to them.

1. Fireworks and dogs don’t mix.

Period. If you plan to go to a fireworks celebration, leave Fido at home. If fireworks can be heard near your home, keep your dogs and cats indoors for the evening, and give them a safe place to retreat, like a plush dog bed with blankets in a room without windows.

2. Secure your pet!

The rumor on the street is that more dogs go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year. I don’t know if this is a documented statistic, but the reason is that pets, especially dogs, HATE FIREWORKS. It can be equally easy for your dog to slip through an open gate left unlatched by a party guest. An up-to-date tag and microchip greatly increases the chance of a lost pet being returned, but keeping your pet confined inside is the safest option.

3. It’s incredibly hot.

If your dog is outside for the party all day, and you get caught up in the festivities, you may easily miss the warning signs that your dog is overheating. Take a moment to read the signs of overheating in dogs.

5. Barbeques are for people, not pets.

People will drop food and spill drinks. The problem is that everyday people food and alcoholic drinks are unhealthy, or even poisonous, to your dog. Fatty meats, peach pits, corn cobs, and BBQ skewers are all insidious to our pets. Diverting from their regular food for even one meal can cause consequences from indigestion to punctured intestinal walls, or even a dangerously intoxicated pet at risk for respiratory failure and death.

5. Keep human sunscreen and bug spray products away from your pets.

Products with DEET are seriously toxic to our pets. There are pet-safe sun protection products on the market. If you are in doubt if a product is safe for your pet, it is best to find an alternative, such as the shaded and bug-free indoors.

6. Keep matches and lighter fluid away from curious pets.

Matches contain hazardous chemicals such as potassium nitrate, which is an oxidizing agent. Matches can also contain charcoal or sulfur and coloring agents, which are potentially dangerous heavy metals. When ingested, pets can develop gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, a painful abdomen, and bloody diarrhea. Lighter fluid contains hydrocarbons, and can cause skin irritation upon contact, respiratory problems when inhaled, or vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.

Play it safe with this holiday. While pets are a part of the family, and it’s only natural to want them around for the festivities, this is holiday when it’s best to find your pets a safe, secure spot in the home while you enjoy the day’s festivities. 

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